One of the biggest questions that religions seek to answer is “How can I be right with God?” That’s the question of salvation. Let’s take a look at what Mormons believe about it.
One of the biggest questions religion answers is: “How can I be right with God?” This is the question of salvation. Let’s try to understand what Mormonism teaches about salvation in comparison to historic, biblical Christianity.
Mormons believe there are two kinds of salvation: immortality and exaltation.
To Mormons, immortality means resurrection to some level of heaven. This applies to all people regardless of what they believe or how they live. Immortality leads to some level of resurrection. But exaltation is the highest level of heaven. Only the most worthy qualify for exaltation in the highest heaven: the “celestial kingdom.”
By contrast, the Bible envisions one salvation. This salvation has many elements. But there aren’t different kinds of salvation for different kinds of people. Jesus put it like this:
Matthew 7:13-14 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
Mormons believe people are saved by grace plus obedience.
Mormons value God’s grace.. But they believe people are saved – in the highest sense of the word – by God’s grace plus their own good works. To Mormons, the atonement of Jesus is a necessary precondition for salvation, but it does not actually save anyone from their sins unless they live the right kind of life. Grace gives Mormons the opportunity to add the needed good works to obtain forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God.
However, the Bible teaches that we are right with God by grace alone, not by the addition of any good works. Forgiveness of sins and eternal life in God’s presence is a free gift of God, not based on our good works or worthiness, but on Jesus’ death on the cross, which paid the penalty for our sin.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 11:6 And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.
If you add good works, then you lose grace. The two are mutually exclusive. If you pay for a gift, it’s no longer a gift. True salvation is a divine act that makes a person new. So while obedience cannot earn our salvation in any way, it is the natural result of being saved.
Ephesians 2:8-10 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Mormons believe there is a second chance for salvation in the next life.
Mormons believe that a person can receive salvation after they have died. Certain ordinances are required for exaltation. Mormons perform these acts by proxy for people who have died, in hopes that those people will convert to Mormonism in the spirit world.
By contrast, the Bible teaches that this life is the appointed time to get right with God. Our eternal destiny is fixed at death.
Hebrews 9:27 “…each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment…”
This is why traditional Christians are eager to help their friends and family understand the wonderful grace of God offered to us in Jesus Christ. Our sins can be forgiven and we can have eternal life with God on the basis of what Jesus did for us, not because of any good or worthy deeds we do ourselves.